Lessons from Don Cherry

Miles and Wynton both agree… Don Cherry is important. “Don Cherry, I like…” – Miles Davis by Leonard Feather, Down Beat Volume 58 No. 12 first published by Down Beat, June 1964  “I loved Don Cherry.” -Wynton Marsalis, interviewed by Will Layman for Pop Matters, April 2016 As a young student of the trumpet, my […]

No history, no future.

No history, no future. *an edited version of this essay will appear as the introduction the forthcoming book “Images of America, Milwaukee Jazz” by Joey Grihalva on Arcadia Publishing Co. (preorder the book here: mkejazzbook.com) Many have proclaimed  the “death of jazz” since the musical art form began over a century ago. In response to such […]

The case for KASE

Unlike the Classical player, the jazz artist must achieve a technique that uncovers the self, that answers the question that Ellison says is the question of American art: Who am I? -Robert G O’Meally, from the introduction ‘Jazz Shapes’ to Ralph Ellison’s “Living with Music” (header photo by Bryan Mir) I am musically restless. Sometimes I […]

Music is life is music

In Make the Road by Walking I mentioned allowing one’s life experiences, personal relationships, childhood memories, visual artistic expressions (ie. the smells, tastes, sights, and sounds of daily life) to influence one’s music. Here, I would like to share with you a personal example of this concept put to action and a glimpse into my own compositional mind. There are […]

Make the road by walking

Life experiences, personal relationships, childhood memories, visual expressions – the smells, tastes, sights, and sounds of daily life… the musicians who I am connected to most have this in their music. It can be explicit or implicit – but it can be felt. Can I hear your story in your music? Am I telling my story in my music?

What have I learned from Ornette Coleman?

“The pattern for the tune will be forgotten, and the tune itself will be the pattern.” -Ornette Coleman (from Ornette Coleman, A Harmolodic Life) To me, there are certain musicians who deserve specific attention… who require deliberate study.  — The controversial, the innovative and the revolutionary — If we made a “Mount Rushmore” of jazz icons, […]